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Table 1 Strategies to engage schools and parents with the study

From: The impact of active stakeholder involvement on recruitment, retention and engagement of schools, children and their families in the cluster randomised controlled trial of the Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP): a school-based intervention to prevent obesity

Written communication
• The HC kept regular email contact with teachers, keeping them informed throughout the trial.
• Easy to read information leaflets were created for parents to inform them about the collection of data a week prior to measures being taken (for the 12, 18 and 24 month time points)
• Any parent letters and/or flyers relating to the trial were sent home in book bags and were put into envelopes with labels saying “to the parent/carer of XX”, as parents reported that this looked more official, thus they were more likely to receive and read them.
• An information leaflet was created for non-trial schools that received trial children during the course of the study, so that they were aware of the need to see these children at follow up.
• In schools with a high proportion of English as an additional language, all parental correspondence was translated.
• Large print/coloured versions of letters and information flyers were created for parents with visual impairments.
Verbal communication
• The HC met the teachers some time before the parent information packs were distributed (September 2012 in cohort 1 and September 2013 in cohort 2 schools) to discuss the details of the study. A teacher flyer was created for them to take away.
• The HC was available in the playground to speak to parents on several occasions during the intervention and during the period when children were being recruited (October 2012/2013).
• The HC made contact with the year-6 transition member of staff (at the end of the summer term of year 6, before the children moved on to their allocated secondary schools) to ensure secondary schools were aware of the study, and an information leaflet was created for the transition lead in all secondary schools.
School and parent support
• Envelopes, stamps and address labels were given to administrative staff when letters needed to be sent directly home to parents. The HC also offered to help complete this task.
• The contact details of the HC assigned to the school were on all correspondence to parents and a poster with their picture and contact details was displayed by the school reception desk.
• The HC was available to meet with parents if they had any concerns and/or queries about the trial and/or the intervention for the duration of the study.